Our 2nd annual Queer and Dear art show opens today. How do we put this show in context? Art sits high atop the hierarchy of needs, above survival and safety, in the rarefied air of self-actualization. In the age of coronavirus, is what we do still relevant? People are worried. People are scared. People are dying. There is so much work to do. Why are we still making rainbow mugs?
Meanwhile, the pattern of systemic violence against black and brown people continues. George Floyd was murdered, and we, as a country, ignited.
Pride is not the exclusive domain of the queer community. The Pride Movement started more than 50 years ago when a small group of people fought back against police oppression with rocks and chorus lines and sticks and flips of curled hair. But the Stonewall riots are a note within decades of civil rights protesting: a year before Stonewall, Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated. Three years before that were the Watts riots. A year after Stonewall, police applied shoot-to-kill orders in the Atlanta riots. And so on. And so on. And here we are.
The gay rights movement does not exist without the work that was done by the wider civil rights movement. Eliminating violence against trans people of color is just one example of the necessary intersection of the queer movement with other social justice movements. The Black Lives Matter movement is a Pride movement, and Pride demands that we dare to see everyone's full humanity and nothing less. We offer this art show in solidarity with all people who are daring to ask for recognition of their full humanity.
Full humanity, nothing less.
In their curatorial statement for this show, Coco Spadoni writes:
Clay is a powerful medium with diverse attributes; elasticity, fluidity, resilience, strength, and expansiveness. It can be both brilliantly delicate or substantially hearty.
Coco’s statement is about the kinds of expression that may be possible when we are free from constraint and expectation. Like clay, we exist as a multitude of possibilities. We all inhabit our desires and fears simultaneously. This Queer and Dear show represents joy and celebration and what may be possible when folks have the freedom to explore the complexity of their full humanity–in all its elasticity, fluidity, resilience, strength, and expansiveness.
When you come to see this show, we ask you to remember its roots. Remember that making art from the margins has always been, and always will be, a radical act. It is dangerous to be an outsider. This struggle began long before us and will continue long after us: and so on, and so on.
Thank you to Coco Spadoni for their hard work in curating this show during a pandemic. Thank you also to all the contributing artists: for your vision, for your daring, and for your celebration of the struggle.
Alexa Villanueva + lexa luna studios • Amanda Love • Anika Major • Brent Pafford • Caitlin Reynolds Pottery • Coco Spadoni • Courtney Hassman • Jennifer Kaplan • Jess Grady-Benson • Jonathan Kusnerek • Megan Ashley Ceramics • mtc pottery • Phi Le • Rosa Friedrichs • Taylor Callaway • Taylor Whyte
We would love to hear your thoughts on this collection of work and what it represents; don’t hesitate to email us. If you share photos while you visit, tag us with @saltstoneceramics and #queeranddear.
Queer and Dear is available for walk-by / roll-by / online viewing from June 1st to July 31st. More info at https://saltstoneceramics.com.